Photos and Testimonials

doula helps mother continue to breastfeed

"As my daughter’s first birthday approaches I find myself reminiscing about the miracle of her birth. I cannot forget about how grateful I am that I had Joanne in my corner as my doula. I knew Joanne was a blessing from the first conversation I ever had with her. Having had a miscarriage I needed all the support and peace of mind I could get. Joanne granted me just that. She made herself available to me by phone or email. I never had to wait, she would ease my apprehension about anything with her calm and nurturing demeanour. She visited with us for very informative but informal class sessions. My water broke 7 days before my due date and Joanne was with me every step of the way. Long story short I ended up having to have a C-Section because my baby was breach. When I tell people I had a doula, they always laugh and say I had Joanne for no reason. But that is simply not the case, Joanne kept me calm and collected when all my plans of a natural birth were no longer an option. She waited with us, prepared with us for surgery, waited until we were in my room with our beautiful new baby, she helped me with immediate baby care tips, The BEST breast feeding tips and techniques (I’m still nursing a year later). Joanne gave me confidence and peace of mind. She visited me a week later just to see how I was doing. Thank you Joanne! We could never repay you for your support."

Mani and Marco De Simone

"On September 22, 2012 our first child, Owen Samuel was born. Being first time, nervous, expectant parents, we decided to take prenatal classes with Joanne Raines in our home. We could not have made a better decision. Joanne's knowledge, experience and gentle caring nature made us feel at ease in preparation for labour and bringing our baby home. Her classes were thorough and informative, and her approach, down to earth. She brought positive energy and a calm demeanour into our birth experience. She went out of her way to make us feel extremely comfortable with the material and always took the time to answer any of our questions. We cannot express how grateful we are to have had Joanne's expertise and presence leading up to the labour. She even came to visit Owen after he was born.

Joanne is one of those rare people you meet who truly loves and cares for what she does, and it shows. She is a professional; a natural nurturer and we consider her a friend. We will definitely be recommending her services to friends and family and will no doubt be using her for our next child - whenever we are crazy enough to embark on that journey again."

-Your friends Rebecca & Jeff

"We loved Joanne's Childbirth Education classes. They were very interesting & informative. Loved the energy and flow!"

Erika & Steve S.

"In our Childbirth Education classes, we found Joanne to be very knowledgeable. She made the learning material fun, interesting and we enjoyed her sense of humour. That she came to our house to teach, also made it very convenient.

Postnatally, when we were having breastfeeding issues, her presence was valuable and VERY HELPFUL! She demonstrated proper latch, positioning and how to tell if baby is drinking. Her knowledge is excellent. She put me and my family at ease and we would recommend her to anyone!"

Hilary & Mark McArthur

newborn with thumbs up

Two thumbs up!
Joanne was referred to us by friends who'd in turn been referred by friends of theirs. This put us in a position of trust before we even met with Joanne. Our trust was cemented upon our first visit many months before our delivery. She spoke about her experience and clearly identified boundaries that would exist between her, us and the medical staff. Mostly though she listened to us express our fears and desires and she encouraged us to continue this dialogue throughout our pregnancy. She listened as we, for the first time, shared ideas about our ideal birth with someone other than ourselves. Our birth wishes were just right for us. We were also encouraged by her to leave some wiggle room in our expectations in case unforeseen events occurred.

As our pregnancy developed it became apparent that ours wouldn't be a standard birth experience. Our baby was identified as an IUGR baby and our doctor scheduled an induction to deliver our baby early. While we did worry, we had faith in the medical staff and continued to talk with Joanne about wanting to stick to our birth plan ideals if not the whole of it. She again encouraged us to stay true to our desires, but to also make room for the unexpected. We arrived at the hospital more like a couple going on vacation. Our wonderful OB had told us that the induction would start as passively as possible so we were on our own but in contact with Joanne throughout the morning. By the time noon arrived contractions were close and regular. Joanne arrived at just the right time. She immediately took to helping with breathing and positioning to cope with labour and provided guidance to do all the things we had been taught to do - but somehow had forgotten in that moment. When our confidence was back, she gently moved to the side to allow us to continue through labour together. We gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who weighed just under five pounds. It is an experience we will never forget.

Thank you Joanne, for helping us to realize our dreams.

Michelle & Michael

twin newborns with parents

Dear Joanne,

Thank you so much for being our doula and helping us with the birth and post partum care of our twin baby girls born in February 2010. We are lucky to have found you and are so grateful for your assistance.

When we were trying to choose someone to be with us during this very personal an intimate time, we were impressed with you from the very start. We first called you on a Friday afternoon at approximately 31 weeks gestation and were so impressed when you returned our call so promptly that same evening with the few minutes you had before another client meeting. At no point did we ever feel pressured to choose you and you even encouraged us to speak with other doulas before making our decision. Your timely follow up after our first meeting impressed us again and really gave us a good indication that you were someone of your word - you would do what you said when you said you were going to do it and that was very important to us.

Due to some unforeseen complications before the birth of our daughters, we had to move the location of our initial meeting and all following appointments to the hospital and your flexibility in meeting us there and supporting us so late in the pregnancy meant a lot to us during this trying time. You were always available to answer our questions and was a very calm and reassuring voice. We loved the information package along with all of the samples you brought for us and much of the information we still refer to now.

When it came time for us to deliver the girls, you arrived at the hospital within an hour of our call which was pretty impressive given that we roused you at 3am in the middle of the night and you had to travel into the city from the suburbs. You quietly encouraged us to be true to our birth wishes and shared your experiences with us only when we asked when we were trying to make decisions throughout the birthing process. At no point did I feel that you were interfering with the doctors and nurses who were looking after us but rather, you were another valuable member of our child birth team. When things stalled during the pushing stage, your innovative "pulling" approach gave us another method to try and we appreciated this new approach to try and move things along.

Immediately after the girls were born, I suffered complications and you stayed with Jeff until I was stabilized and transferred back to my room several hours later. At this point you had been with us from 4am in the morning until 11:30pm at night. You always remained calm, supportive and reassuring and when we weren't sure about something, you patiently explained things to us based on your own experiences.

Our girls spent a few weeks in the NICU and Level 2 nurseries but when the time came for us to transition home, again you provided some much needed help. You were always willing to do whatever needed to be done and answered all of our questions patiently. What we admire and respect the most about your approach was that you were never judgmental of the choices we were making as first time parents and you were so reassuring, always telling us over and over again that we knew our girls the best and we would know what to do. I clearly remember a panicked and upset phone call I placed to you early one morning after a particularly tough night of listening to the girls crying and you calmed me down and restored my confidence in my own parenting abilities, all done before you had even gotten out of bed!

Thank you for all of your help and support as we travel along the road of parenthood. Your professionalism combined with your kind and caring heart made you the perfect doula for us and we consider you not just our doula but our friend as well. Anyone would be lucky to have you present at the birth of their children and we would highly recommend you to all of our friends and family. You're definitely in the right line of work and you love what you do as it shows in the care you give to your clients.

Thanks again for everything,
Kathy, Jeff, Victoria and Caitlyn Jin

newborn with thumbs up

Kalia's Birth Story

Yesterday Joanne, our doula, came for our post-natal visit. One of the things we chatted about was our different perspectives of Kalia's birth and we went over the timeline. I was really happy that I recorded Logan's birth story; it's been good to reflect back on, I've shared it with people who wanted to hear more about my Hypnobirthing experience and I think it's really important that there are positive birthing experiences out there for women to the rest of the birth story here...

The four of us made a great team. Thanks again for being everything we could have wanted in a Doula and more.
Muriah, Allan & Kalia

Doula and new mother

"When we first learned we were pregnant, we were excited and anxious for the arrival of our baby. We always envisioned a natural birth, so we researched and were so comforted when we found our answer – a Doula. We met with Joanne, who made it clear that her job was not to question our wishes, but to ensure they be carried out to the best of our ability. Through her questions and our conversation, we knew in our hearts, it was Joanne we'd have as a guide.

On the day of our labour, my husband called Joanne at 10:30am to let her know we were ready! Joanne breathed us through the surges and when we arrived at Mount Sinai Hospital I was already 4cm dilated. Throughout the day, Joanne was encouraging, supportive and most importantly kept me focused on the goal of natural labour If Joanne wasn't part of our birth, I don't feel I could've gone on without an epidural - a most important decision for me. For that dedication, we are forever grateful.

At 7:05pm we were elated to announce the birth of Isabella Nicole. We had such a personal experience. Joanne helped us carry out our best wishes. We have no doubt that our next birth will involve Joanne. She is an important part of our family.

With Joanne by our side to guide us through another natural labour, Sophie Grace joined our family 26 months later.

Darren, Sarine, Isabella & Sophie H.

three month baby girl

"We weren't sure at first if we wanted a doula at our homebirth or if we wanted just the two of us. However, we are so glad that we hired you. You made our birth so much better, and helped Alex to help me. I really don't think we could have stuck out such a long labor without you. You were there with us the entire time, were always helpful, nice and went above and beyond. We are really grateful.

Thanks again - we'd definitely recommend to friends to get a doula, and specifically we'd recommend you.

We're happy you'll be our doula again as our second child arrives."

Rebecca, Alex and baby Martha

one year-old twins

"From the moment I met Joanne, her calming nature made me feel more relaxed. The fact that she has twins experience and twins in her own family made me feel more at ease since she was familiar with the challenges parents face when caring for two newborns. She was very easy to talk to and a fantastic listener. She always offered practical advice, which was very much appreciated – especially when dealing with the emotional roller coaster that follows childbirth. She was always reliable, punctual and easy to communicate with.

When it came to the twins, they instantly bonded with Joanne. Her warm and compassionate nature had a calming effect on both Adam and Ariana. With regards to caring for the twins, she offered suggestions on how to deal with different aspects of their development, but did not try to force her views upon me. When my approach differed from her view, she was respectful and supportive of my decision and didn’t make me feel like I had made the ‘wrong’ choice.

Having worked with several doulas prior to Joanne, it was clear that Joanne chose this line of work because it is what she loves to do. Her passion and commitment to provide the best care possible are what make her so good at what she does. We can’t thank you enough for all your support and guidance!"

Roula V.

new parents and baby

"To do not just a 'Job' but something you love is one of the most rewarding things in life. To be helped by someone who feels this way is amazing! My husband and I are really glad we chose Joanne as our postpartum doula because of her calming thoughts and good nature. My husband refers to her as 'the baby whisperer'.

I always found Joanne easy to talk to when I had something on my mind - personal matters or regarding Michael’s development and well-being. She's a good listener and offered calm, practical advice, which I really appreciated.

She is very straightforward and I found it easy to communicate with her. Joanne always respected my wishes and supported me in a non-judgmental way. At the same time, I noticed that she'd bring her own common-sense approach. I trusted her completely. She is totally honest and thoroughly reliable.

....As Michael’s father, I agree with Catherine’s comments. I found Joanne to be good humoured and good fun. Michael adored Joanne from the first day they met!! More importantly for me, Catherine trusted and liked Joanne, so she was more relaxed. With Joanne's help Catherine's relief time was without worry, giving her space for herself. I would have no hesitation in recommending Joanne."

Catherine & Kevin B.

new family resting

"We chose Whispering Heart Childbirth Education and Doula Services for the births of both of my children. The selection of the right doula was especially important to me as I had planned natural home births in each case. (As you might imagine, a planned natural home birth entails much more involvement and commitment from the mother’s personal support caregivers than a hospital birth.) Joanne rose to the challenge admirably on both occasions. She provided me with resources that helped me to formulate a birth plan which aligned with my values, while remaining pragmatic about the uncertainties in any birth event. She respected my wishes regarding activities during early labour (hiking, prenatal yoga, bath), and took the lead when I was no longer able to clearly articulate my needs in active labour. She was a calming presence during transition and kept me focussed on the task at hand when things got particularly intense. Throughout, Joanne kept me as relaxed as possible, which helped to ensure that my labour experiences were relatively short, leaving me with more energy to enjoy my babies. Joanne also took care of me in the immediate aftermath of the birth, which allowed my husband the opportunity to bond with the newborn infants at a crucial time. Her follow up visits were most welcome for the encouragement and breastfeeding tips. Joanne stays in touch with clients long after the babies are born, and her sincere interest in others is evident in everything she does. I would definitely engage Joanne again, and recommend her to others without hesitation."

Jenn S.

"Joanne was a very calming presence at both babies births in this family."

Wendy W., Midwife

baby takes a bath and tries to eat droplets

In May of 2008, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. As a single parent, and not wanting to place stress upon friends and family, I invited Joanne; as my doula, into my daughter's birth and into my home. She was wonderful! Joanne gave me the help I needed, the breaks I required, and the advice I wanted. At the same time, Joanne respected my independent streak, ideas, and my family unit. If I have another child one day, I will not hesitate to hire Joanne again. I value her knowledge, sensitivity, and friendship.

Melanie M.

I was really excited to be expecting my first child, but very nervous at the same time. On the recommendation of a cousin I started to research doulas, what they do, and how they can help. It seemed like a wonderful idea, so my husband and I met with, and then hired, Joanne to be our doula. It is a decision that we will never regret.

Joanne helped to allay any anxieties prior to the delivery. We discussed what we would like our delivery to be like, and how we would deal with the unexpected. She helped me to understand that my body was built to carry and deliver a baby. She encouraged me and my husband to work together as a team. We both felt confident and prepared for our little baby to arrive.

When the big day finally did come Joanne was there to help us through it. She arrived at our house very early in the morning and helped us to decide when it was time to go to the hospital. Once there Joanne was encouraging and supportive of our birth plan. We wanted to take things one step at a time, and deal with things as they occurred. As the pain became more difficult Joanne was able to coach me, and help my husband to coach me, through it. In the end I had a natural delivery and I am very pleased with how we all worked together to bring baby Louisa into the world. It was an amazing experience, and I will most certainly ask Joanne to support us with any future deliveries.

Janice T.

Doula and new mother

Dear Joanne,

Eric and I wanted to thank you for your services during the birth of our daughter Hailey. From the moment we first met you, we knew that you were someone we wanted by our side during the birthing process. Having you assist us during labour really helped us to feel at ease, especially since you took the time to explain what was happening. Thank you also for your post-partum services, especially with breastfeeding. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you!

For all of the expecting parents considering Joanne’s services, we highly recommend her!

Cheryl & Eric

"We had an excellent experience with Joanne and I would definitely recommend her. She worked with me to manage the pain (did a great job there) and helped me stay calm and focused on my goals. She also had excellent suggestions for the breastfeeding issues I had (and visited with us after the delivery) and was more helpful than the lactation consultants I was referred to at the hospital (and I saw more than one). If I have another baby she'll be there with us!"
"Wouldn’t have made it through natural birth without you Joanne"

Neve G.

"When I have tried to describe to friends what Joanne did for my husband and I at the birth of our son Nicolas, I usually start off by using adjectives like warm and reassuring, kind and respectful. The truth is, the reason we first decided to find a doula was because both of our families live out of town. What we found in Joanne was the kind of care our parents would give us, with a whole lot of skills and expertise. Joanne helped us prepare for the birth of our son and get our bearings and build our confidence once he was born. During the early stages of labour I really felt she was there for me and helped us make what we felt were some tough decisions about changes to our birth plan. She was also very supportive yet respectful of my husband and his role in the birth. I find it hard to put into words what Joanne did for us during this very special time, but suffice is to say that I would highly recommend her to anyone."

UPDATE: Great that you'll be our doula again as our second child arrives."


Ali, Eddy and little Nico

"Kelly and I made a good connection with you as soon as we met and we’re very happy that we chose you as our Doula.

At our prenatal meetings, your helped us prepare. When labour began, you met us at the hospital in the middle of night and when labour stopped, you stayed positive for us. After a few days, many attempts at induction, our emotional ups and downs and lots of phone calls to you, we were so glad you arrived as labour began again in the early morning hours. Thank you for guiding and encouraging me through the contractions.

When the doctor decided I’d need a cesarean, you helped me with that too. It meant so much to us that you were able to be in the operating and recovery rooms with us. During the surgery you talked to me, helping me to stay calm. In the recovery room when you placed Giovanni on my bare breast, it was amazing to watch him actually inch his way up and to latch onto my breast himself. Incredible!

It’s good that we told you about Kelly being queasy and leaving the prenatal classes during the birth film. We were worried about how he’d be at the birth of our own baby. It really helped that you knew. You reassured him and gave him the confidence to be able to be in the operating room and to watch as the doctor delivered our son. We are both very grateful for that.

Thank you so much; you were a great team leader!


Maria and Kelly D."

All photos & testimonials are included with permission of my clients and MAY NOT BE COPIED.
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